Dante Robino, Malbec, 2008

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

My mate Paul gave me a bottle of wine and told me that it is never wise to look a gift horse in the mouth.  So let’s take a glance at its teeth then!


Château de Nervers, Brouilly, 2009

Monday, March 7th, 2011

I am in the envious position of having tickets to see Elbow in their home town on 25 March.  So tonight, Matthew, I’m doing a bit of cramming.

Have you heard the new Elbow album?  It was released today and I downloaded it from iTunes for the princely sum of £10.99.  Listening to it now, I am not yet totally enamoured.  But that almost certainly means that, with two or three more listens, I will love it.  Guy Garvey’s sharp “northern” lyrics combined with soulful melodies seem to appeal as much to men, as to women, despite the music being a bit soft for Northern blerks.  I’d like to see Guy proclaimed King of Manchester and maybe I’d share a curry with him at Akbars, the most royal of Manchester Ruby restos.

The self proclaimed King of Beaujolais, Georges Duboeuf, sent me some Brouilly, via the Wine Society who debited my account to the rather commonly sum of £8.75.  Château de Nervers, Brouilly, 2009, is from a legendary Bojo vintage.  Do you believe the hype?


Calicata Malbec 2010

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

If you are looking for a cheap and cheerful Malbec, you could do a lot worse than try this specimen from Naked wines.

Imagine a bowl of fresh cherries and vanilla ice cream.  Not as dark and devious as many Malbecs but tasty and good with or without food.  Seems like incredible value at  £7.99 (less a mysterious discount of x%*) which probably means you are paying little more than a fiver.

* x = 1/y+3σ (no I can’t work out Naked prices either).

Ocaso Malbec, 2009

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

A plastic cork.  Oh my GOD!  Hugo Mesquitah (@mesquitah) will kill me if he knows I even looked at this bottle, never mind drank the wine.

Plump and gorgeous..... I mean the Ocaso!!!

This came from Naked Wines at a pretty expensive £9.49.  But, then again, there is such a super-complex array of discounts that the real price could be anywhere between £3.50 and £750.

The wine is typical Mabec and tastes of dark chocolate and cherry liqueur (probably Thornton’s) and has a velvety texture.  Very nice and possibly even worth a tenner.  A bit lighter than most Malbecs and a refreshing 13.5% ABV.

I recommend drinking young (as it is plastic corked), trying to avoid the “face” price,  and following WART advice to drink at circa 16°C.  Snap some up quick though.  Before you know it, Gaucho Grills will be serving this at £56 per bottle.

Trenel Fleurie, 2009

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Beaujolais 2009 is reputed by Wine Society marketing materials as even better than 2003 and 2005.  Since I really enjoyed wines from both those vintages, I was prepared to fork out £150 for a case of some of the finer ones, like this Fleurie.  Normally tasting of Bazooka Joe and about as serious as a school playground, wines from this most charming of villages are great summer barbecue and salad wines.

But this year, there is more headmaster than pupil in the wines.  No hint of bubblegum in Trenel, but a lovely zingy tartness tasting of ever so slightly unripe strawberries and tinned pineapple.  My other selections were from Moulin à Vent and Morgon.  I expect them to be even more serious and maybe long lasting, not least based on their more expensive price tag.

From the Wine Society at £9.95

A Naked, Virgin tale

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I’ve just placed my first order with Naked Wines.  Is this news?  Not really, I suppose, but the strange thing is the reason why.  Naked has persistently pestered me, offered free samples, discounts and special offers and I have resisted for over a year.

I attended EWBC 2010 and witnessed something very interesting.  Naked founder, Rowan Gormley,  (fortunately wearing clothes in front of several hundred people) standing side by side with Willi Klinger of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, a top guy by any standard, running a mass taste-off between 11 Austrian Wines.


Domaine de Gournier, 2009

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

If there is a wine region in the world right now that is in the ascendance, it surely is the South of France and, specifically, the Languedoc.  Partly driven by credit crunch belt tightening, and partly by improved quality, and wider availability (in the UK, at any rate).

This stonker came via the Wine Society from Cévennes at a mere £5.75.  At this price it is hard to fault.

Rich, earthy, root vegetables and plums, well worthy of your attention.  Follow WART advice and stick it in the fridge for half an hour before opening.

Cycles Gladiator strikes again

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

In February I sampled the 2006 Pinot Noir from this brand and gave it a good account.  A 2008 appeared recently, I figured it was worth another go.  But Pinot Noir is notoriously fickle and as a result is often expensive.  Is it possible to make a decent one and then ship it half way across the world and then sell it for a pittance?


Malumbres Rosado, 2009

Friday, November 5th, 2010

I have pondered, on increasingly rare occasions in my curmudgeonly middle age, whether to write about poor wines.  It is hardly constructive.  There is at least one theory that says make positive comments public and keep negative ones private.

But this website is my own personal record that I rely on for my own future advice.  So I reckon it is OK to report wines that I really don’t get on with.  Otherwise I might buy them again in the future, at my own cost.

Malumbres 2009 came to me as part of an end of season mixed rosé case from my most dependable supplier, The Wine Society.  Here, in England, we have experienced an Indian summer, at least in terms of temperature.  I was in London today – early November and 16° C!  That would have charmed June in the 1970’s (OK, 1976 excepted).

But this Spanish wine, that should boast of bull fighting and castanets and taste of sunshine actually couldn’t even outshine a (burnt) microwave massacre# pizza from Sainsbury.  Lacking in acidity and fruit, it reminded me of the place I once worked: The 3 B’s:  Bitter, bland and burnt.

Note to self:  When you look back at this post-senility, BBBs stood for Bradford & Bingley Building Society.  Like Accrington Stanley, who are they?  Precisely…

# Following on from the Sainsbury Basics and, Taste the Difference ranges, Microwave Massacre is the latest Sainsbury lifestyle brand.  Or at least that is my prediction for 2011.

Casillero del Diablo Carménère, 2008

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

I was mooching through Sainsbury’s wine section looking for something interesting to go with a pork chop dish I have been working on.  I have to say it was a pretty depressing mooch, with very little to trouble the adrenalinometer.  Rescue came in a bottle of Casillero del Diablo Carménère, a wine I have tried before and enjoyed.  It is from Chilean giant, Concha y Toro, the one brand that seems truly capable of producing wines that rise above the lowest common denominator of the North American and Australian market leaders.